- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

My little brother died in service in 2009, and I was wondering if I could receive educational benefits for going to school. He was single and had no children. Still wondering if you have more information or knowledge of any benefits to help me pay for school. I appreciate your time,

Delvin M.
Via the Internet

Dear Delvin,

Unfortunately, the Department of Veterans Affairs does not provide education benefits to siblings of veterans. Requirements for survivors’ and dependents’ educational assistance are as follows, according to the VA:

1. The spouse or child of a service member or veteran who either died of a service-connected disability, or who has permanent and total service-connected disability, or who died while such a disability existed.

2. The spouse or child of a service member listed for more than 90 days as currently missing in action (MIA), captured in the line of duty by a hostile force, or detained or interned by a foreign government or power.

3. The spouse or child of a service member who is hospitalized or is receiving outpatient care or treatment for a disability that is determined to be totally and permanently disabling, incurred or aggravated due to active duty, and for which the service member is likely to be discharged from military service.

Shaft notes

• A high five to California Rep. Bob Filner, who will be receiving the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) Pinnacle Award for his outstanding leadership in preserving and enhancing the quality of life for military personnel, retirees, veterans and their families.

Mr. Filner, who represents the 51st Congressional District of California, was selected to receive the association’s highest honor for his support of Navy and Coast Guard veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam and are suffering illnesses related to exposure to Agent Orange. He was also selected for his efforts to secure funding for the Post-9/11 GI Bill and, as ranking member and former chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, his advocacy on behalf of all military veterans.

The award will be presented in a Capitol Hill ceremony, hosted by FRA. The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26, in Room B-340, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

• I was honored to be present when Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown attended the AMVETS Department of Maryland’s annual luncheon at Turf Valley Resort, where he was presented with the 2012 “PNC A. Leo Anderson Free State Award of Excellence.” This was the 26th anniversary of the presentation of the award, which recognizes recipients for their role in supporting Maryland veterans. Former recipients include Gov. William Donald Schaefer, Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein, and U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

“I am extremely honored to be recognized by AMVETS with this prestigious award,” Mr. Brown said. “Governor O’Malley and I remain committed to delivering for our veterans, and we couldn’t do it without the work of organizations like AMVETS. Together, we have worked successfully to honor the invaluable contributions of our brave Marylanders while providing vital opportunities, resources and services to enhance the quality of life for all veterans.”

This session, Mr. Brown advocated on behalf of legislation that allows notation of “veteran” status on drivers’ licenses and identification cards. Earlier this month, the bill passed unanimously in both the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates.

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